Sheila’s Presentation About What She’s Learned from Writing, Istanbul, December 2019

I visited Istanbul for almost a month recently, and while I was there, I spent a morning with members of Writing It Real member Yesim Cimcoz’s Yazi Evi (Writing House–you can read Yesim’s essay on the project’s beginning and growth here.) She videotaped my presentation, done in the form of questions and answers. In the … Continue reading

Tell It Slant: Author Brenda Miller on Writing Creative Nonfiction and a Generous Excerpt from the Book

Introduction to an Excerpt from Tell it Slant (Available from Powell’s and Amazon as well as your favorite bookseller). By Brenda Miller In 2001, when Suzanne Paola and I began talking about writing a textbook for creative nonfiction, no such book existed. We had been cobbling together our own instructional materials for years, and together … Continue reading

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Writing Between Paragraphs An Essay Forms

This week, wanting so much to write on the day that would have been my son’s 44th birthday, but not knowing how to put my heart-filled words on the page, I reread “Canoe” by Sherrie Flick, a story in 446 words about a daughter grieving her father. Those words ultimately inspired an essay for me … Continue reading

Excerpt From Molly Tinsley’s Novel Things Too Big to Name, Followed by a Q&A wth the Author

This spring, thrilled to be reading a new novel by Molly Best Tinsley, both a teaching colleague and Writing It Real contributor, I was even more thrilled to have found a novel that I could not put down from the moment I began reading to the moment I read the very last word on the … Continue reading

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Writing the Emotionally Important Scenes

A Princeton professor I once read while for some reason I had no pen or device to record his name and the name of the article wrote that when we read a novel we are speeding up time as one book can contain may days, months, and years. But when we write, he said, we … Continue reading

Writing in Letter Form (Epistolary Writing) Keeps You Going

I am reposting an article form the 2012 archives with exercises for using the epistolary form to stay inspired and to keep writing. I had been a reader of letters to Ann Landers and other newspaper columnists to whom the public wrote well into my teens. Even after my own children were grown, I continued … Continue reading

Beating Artlessness to Heal and Save Ourselves and Hopefully, Our World

Emma Lazarus’ 1893 sonnet engraved on a plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty has been made famous again this week. The New Colossus Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a … Continue reading

Writing About Grief, Writing to Protest and Take Action

Three mass shootings within seven days. Since January 2019, 979 people injured and 246 dead in such shootings. Waking up each morning to learn what new trick the current administration has for lowering morale in our country and treating people like rodents (that word, “infestation”). The rise in the number of cases doctors in our … Continue reading